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Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, neuroelasticity, or neural plasticity, is the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life, e.g., brain activity associated with a given function can be transferred to a different location, the proportion of grey matter can change, and synapses may strengthen or weaken over time. The aim of neuroplasticity is to optimize the neural networks during phylogenesis, ontogeny, and physiological learning, as well as after a brain injury. Research in the latter half of the 20th century showed that many aspects of the brain can be altered (or are “plastic”) even through adulthood.However, the developing brain exhibits a higher degree of plasticity than the adult brain.:30
Neuroplasticity can be observed at multiple scales, from microscopic changes in individual neurons to larger-scale changes such as cortical remapping in response to injury. Behavior, environmental stimuli, thought, and emotions may also cause neuroplastic change through activity-dependent plasticity, which has significant implications for healthy development, learning, memory, and recovery from brain damage. At the single cell level, synaptic plasticity refers to changes in the connections between neurons, whereas non-synaptic plasticity refers to changes in their intrinsic excitability.